Step Four: CEQA Document Approval

At the end of the public comment period, the Lead Agency considers all submitted comments before it acts on a proposed project for which a Negative Declaration or Mitigated Negative Declaration has been prepared. The public agency responsible for approving the project considers the adequacy of the environmental documentation. This is typically the City Council, Board of Supervisors or other local governing body. Zones, however, many times consist of several jurisdictions. Therefore, these multiple jurisdictional Zones have to consider these environmental documents individually.

After the Lead Agency approves the RMDZ action, it must file a Notice of Determination with the county clerk and with the State Clearinghouse (Remember, two submissions are made to the SCH—first, the Negative Declaration and then the NOD once the determination is made). The Lead Agency must file a Notice of Determination (NOD) with the county clerk of the county or counties where the project is located within five working days of approving a project for an adopted Negative Declaration. The applicant should include this SCH number on the NOD. Here is an example of a completed NOD form for an RMDZ designation.

Section 15075 of the CEQA Guidelines lists the information required in a Notice of Determination. The filing of the NOD begins a 30-calendar-day statute of limitations on court challenges to the project approval under CEQA. When the Lead Agency sends the NOD to the State Clearinghouse, it must include two copies of a completed Certificate of Fee Exemption (De Minimus Impact Finding — required by the California Department of Fish and Game), if it is applicable to the project. Completion of the form will indicate that, considering the record as a whole, the project involves no potential or adverse effect on wildlife. Details of this requirement, along with a blank certificate, can be found in the Department of Fish and Game regulations, 14 CCR § 753.5 – Collection of Filing Fees. The SCH cannot post a NOD without proof of payment of, or a certificate of exemption from, the required Fish and Game filing fee.

CEQA Toolkit Home | Step Five

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